Book Review: From the Family Kitchen, by Gena Philibert-Ortega

Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.

A lovely new creation from our own Gena Philibert-Orgtega, complete with a ribbon to mark your place, "From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes," provides a wealth of social history and how-to informaton for recording your family food history. With an emphasis female ancestors and how food history can inform your research, the book is complete with references, allowing you to investigate for yourself. In addition to a general discussion in Chapter 1 on "Food Heritage," of particular interest is Chapter 2, "They Brought Their Foods With Them," a history of immigrant cuisines, Amercianized, and Chapter 3, "Oysters, Peacocks, and Green Jello," an exploration of regional foods from across the country.

Also entertaining and engaging are Chapter 4, "Food Throughout Time," taking a look at the effects on food of technology, politics and war; Chapter 5, "Cookbooks and Menus," a delightful look at old cookbooks and recipes; Chapter 6, "How to Find Your Ancestor's Recipes," guides you through researching your own food heritage; Chapter 8, "The Arts of Dining and Cleaning, provides advice on everything from preparing foods to sweeping the kitchen floor -- not all this advice is outdated; and Chapter 9, "Historical Recipes," includes recipes from community and cooking school cookbooks, from times past, 'preparing 'The Funeral of Ham,' for example.

Something akin to documenting one's heirlooms, at the back of the book is a very beautifully done Recipe Journal, allowing the reader to preserve and record treasured family recipes and the memories that go with them. This is a great book to own for its historical value and as a reference; it would also make an excellent gift -- lovely to look at, informative and useful.

From the Family Kitchen, by Gena Philiberth-Ortega. Family Tree Books, 2012.

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